Sand Hill Property Company buys 'Four Corners' property in East Palo Alto

Purchase opens the door for large residential, retail or office development

A property that is a linchpin of East Palo Alto's development plans at the corner of University Avenue and Bay Road has been sold to Sand Hill Property Company, the company announced in a press release on Monday.

The 6.18-acre property at 1675 Bay Road, the site of the long-demolished Nairobi Shopping Center, sits in the center of the city and has been designated as a potential mixed-use residential hub in the Ravenswood Business District/4 Corners area, according to a land-use map in the city's 2013 Ravenswood/4 Corners TOD Specific Plan.

The property, which is part of the 350-acre specific plan, is zoned for multistory buildings with retail and community facilities on the ground floor and apartments or condominiums on the upper floors. The area is envisioned as becoming the "living room" of East Palo Alto that would "provide a cohesive Downtown experience for East Palo Alto," according to the press release.

City zoning code also allows offices and a medical lab at the space, Sand Hill notes.

Green Valley Corporation, a company under developer Barry Swenson Builder, sold the lot to Sand Hill's limited liability partnership, Four Corners EPA Property Owner LLC. The deed was recorded in San Mateo County on Nov. 1, according to public records. The company declined to state the purchase price, but multiple real estate-investment media outlets reported the sum at $42 million.

"We are excited to engage with the community on how they envision this site within the context of the Ravenswood/4!Corners Specific Plan," said Michael Kramer, managing director at Sand Hill Property Company. "We want to see this result in a vibrant mixed-use project that the community can be proud of. This site has been vacant for decades, it is time to activate this important corner in the heart of East Palo Alto. We plan to start speaking with the city and the community very soon to get feedback on what a future plan may look like."

Sand Hill expects to own the site for the long term, and to build and operate the future mixed-use property themselves, the company said.

The "Four Corners" acquisition isn't Sand Hill's only strategic purchase in recent years.

In 2016, the Palo Alto-based developer acquired Woodland Park apartments, a 1,800-unit development on the city's west side. Owned under Sand Hill's entity Woodland Park Communities, the company has proposed redeveloping an area of its holdings that are adjacent to the University Circle business park by constructing more than 600 units that will be called Euclid Improvements. It also proposes to keep existing units that are currently under the city's rent-control ordinance at the same rate with rent-control protections. Sand Hill has also committed to moving tenants to other units during construction to prevent displacement and giving them priority in occupying the new apartments.

Woodland Park and the related development plans will be managed independently of the Four Corners site, which is held by the Four Corners EPA ownership entity.

Sand Hill said it has demonstrated a commitment to improving the quality of life for its tenants. In their first three years owning Woodland Park, the company said it has increased parking spaces, replaced the site's security company, hired more bilingual staff, opened a resident services office and two technology centers, added two pop-up parks and hosted more than 30 community meetings and "listening sessions," it said.

Sand Hill Property Company is a local real estate investor and developer focused on mixed-use development, the company said. It owns Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center in Palo Alto, which reopened in 2015 after undergoing renovations, and other properties on the Midpeninsula.


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21 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Old style classic displacement and redevelopment at work here; and for stakes so high, but only for those who can control government ....nothing to look at folks, it’s avarice and mendacity as usual.....

16 people like this
Posted by That MV Guy
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2019 at 12:57 am

I remember the crime and drug-heavy Nairobi Shopping Center well from back in the late 1970s, though it was a scorched and burned-out shell with only concrete walls standing when I passed by it many times on my way to one of the many auto salvage yards on Bay Road back then (only a couple of yards remain now). There were always a number of small groups of people hanging out in the shopping center parking lot drinking, selling pot and whatever.

Amazing how that near-worthless land has such great value today.

Before fire: Web Link

After fire: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

6 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Exciting news - this vacant lot has been sitting empty for a generation. A mixed use development with restaurants, housing, and office space would be very welcome. It would be a natural location for a retail space of some sort, especially given the heavy volume of traffic which passes by during rush hour.

1 person likes this
Posted by Judith Henderson
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2019 at 3:51 pm

So glad you purchased this property, great idea you have here! I am familiar with modern living retail buisness plans that bring great value and convivence to a community and for this property, your plan makes perfect sense. Also, being familiar with this 6-acre property, I only ask that you find a progressive property manager who finds a modern, upperwardly mobile food and drug market to fill the space designated that will serve the units within and surrounding community with the needs and interests of young adults, families and older East Palo Alto citizens. Thank you and good fortune to you all.

4 people like this
Posted by Remembering Sand Hill
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Ah yes, Sand Hill Developers, which gave us the bizarrely designed Edgewood Plaza (tried to park there lately?) and illegal demolition.
And they want loopholes instead of the promised grocery.
Yes, I remember them well. Greedy and dishonest.

8 people like this
Posted by Nate
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Sleaziest big developer in the area. This isn't going to end well.

4 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Art is a registered user.

Sand Hill needs to use its financial heft to build housing in Palo Alto. They have spent large sums to buy leases and build office buildings in the Research Park, and thus are responsible for bringing huge numbers of new workers to Palo Alto. So, just like Stanford, they need to be responsible and build housing for some of these new workers on their properties. Sand Hill is constructing a sprawling four building office campus at 1050 Page Mill Road, an office building at 2600 El Camino, and two new office buildings at 3251 Hanover (former Lockheed laboratories). They also recently acquired the leases of 950 Page Mill Road (WilmerHale LLP),3000 Page Mill Road (former HPE corporate office), and 3175 Hanover St. (Cooley LLP). Two years ago they purchased CPI's lease on Hansen Way, and they own the parcel in the front of the CPI site, which runs from Hansen Way to the Creekside Inn and fronts El Camino. This is directly across El Camino from the Fry site in Ventura. Sand Hill indicates they want to build an office building there - but this is ideal for housing and we NEED HOUSING. Come on Sand Hill. Build some housing on this property.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Sand Hill property is trying to develop Vallco with a mixture of housing and retail. They also bought the Fox theater in Redwood City specifically because they are Christian and Peter Pau wanted to find a home for his church.
This is a bit of a strained analogy but for people who criticize someone like Pau havebyou ever heard an NFL film where the linemen are caught on mic saying “excuse me”, “after you”, “pardon me”
Et Cetera?

3 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 22, 2019 at 8:13 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

You are telling me that name checking local politicians tongue in cheek got censored because they complained?
Or because I said “sovereign wealth fund”?
Because developers control this page? And you are their puppet?
I can send the same fucking note to city Council which wouldn’t censor it.

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